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My parents are planning a vacation in Canada in the summer of 2012, they want to visit relatives in the Toronto area, and visit the west-coast (Vancouver). They are looking for a way to have a plane/train round trip:

  • Amsterdam
  • Toronto
  • Train to Vancouver
  • Flight to Toronto
  • Flight to Amsterdam

However it seems there are no package deals for train/plane between Toronto and Vancouver, is that correct or is there some package deal?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Why not buy a Amsterdam to Toronto, returning from Vancouver ticket? (Often called an Open-Jaw ticket)

The price would be similar to an Amsterdam to Vancouver return, but you'd fly into Toronto and back from Vancouver, booking your own train tickets for the Toronto to Vancouver leg.

For the train from Toronto to Vancouver, it's "The Canadian", and you should be able to book that online beforehand. See the Seat61.com page for more info on the train (though the viaRail site is pretty good too)

Most airline websites will sell you an open-jaw ticket, but you normally need to go through their multi city booking interface to do it.

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Thanks for the 'open jaw' suggestion, the travel agency hadn't offered that... –  Ton Plomp Dec 9 '11 at 6:09
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Two things that Europeans often don't get about Canada:

  • It's big. Really big. Toronto to Vancouver is 2000 miles by air, 2500 miles driving (you can't go straight, there are Great Lakes and mountain ranges and such in the way)
  • Our trains, by European standards, are few and far between. Little villages in Europe have three trains a day between them, but this flagship run - Train 1! - why, the very symbol of our nationhood is that "last spike" image and the ribbon of rail from sea to sea "there was a time in this great land" etc - runs only three days a week. And it takes 4 days to get there. See point 1.

So if you don't mind waiting a day (or 2 or 3) in Toronto to sync up schedules with the train, and then taking 4 days to get there, it could work. Which brings us to the third problem with the train system in Canada:

  • It's expensive. $600+ per person for the months-in-advance-no-changes-no-refunds tickets to sit in a seat (no bed, and it doesn't recline much) with blankets and pillows available for purchase. $2500 each to share a "cabin for 2".

Now I won't deny this is a beautiful country. And seeing it from a train is one of my favourite things to do. I use the train between Toronto and Montreal and far prefer it to flying between those cities. But I've used trains in Europe and it's important for a tourist to know what "train" means here - they are not the same.

If they still want to do it, going into it with their eyes open, then open jaw plane ticket is the way to go.

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I was aware that it's quite a trip. –  Ton Plomp Dec 9 '11 at 6:08
    
more exactly, 3 days and 15 hours –  Theta30 Dec 9 '11 at 6:48
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